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Incoherence   /ɪnkoʊhˈɪrəns/   Listen
Incoherence

noun
1.
Lack of cohesion or clarity or organization.  Synonym: incoherency.
2.
Nonsense that is simply incoherent and unintelligible.  Synonyms: incoherency, unintelligibility.






WordNet 3.0 © 2010 Princeton University








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"Incoherence" Quotes from Famous Books



... seldom for any length of time without betraying his derangement; as he would certainly find on conversing with him. The chaplain determined to make the trial, and during the conversation of more than an hour, could perceive no symptom of incoherence in his discourse; on the contrary, he spoke with so much sedateness and judgment that the chaplain could not entertain a doubt of the sanity of his intellects. Among other things he assured him that ...
— Wit and Wisdom of Don Quixote • Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra

... said they wanted to talk. Two of the best Malay scholars helped each other, the rest putting in hints and ideas in their own language. They told me a long rambling story; but, partly owing to their imperfect knowledge of Malay, partly through my ignorance of local terms, and partly through the incoherence of their narrative, I could not make it out very clearly. It was, however, a tradition, and I was glad to find they had anything of the kind. A long time ago, they said, some strangers came to Aru, ...
— The Malay Archipelago - Volume II. (of II.) • Alfred Russel Wallace

... elegance and precision, Lyly attained a lucidity almost unequalled among his contemporaries. His attention to form saved him from the besetting sin of Elizabethan prose,—incoherence by reason of an overwhelming display of ornament. His very illustrations were subject to the restraint which his style demanded, being sown, to use his own metaphor, "here and there lyke Strawberries, not in heapes, lyke Hoppes[82]." Arcadianism came as a reaction ...
— John Lyly • John Dover Wilson

... administrative system. He must have found the pressure toward disintegration resistless, and if we consider this most significant phenomenon, in connection with an abundance of similar phenomena, in other countries, which indicate social incoherence, we can hardly resist a growing apprehension touching the future. Nor is that apprehension allayed if, to reassure ourselves, we turn to history, for there we find on every side long series ...
— The Theory of Social Revolutions • Brooks Adams

... uppermost. The order of our thoughts should be the order of our writing.) Goes he muzzled, or aperto ore? Are his intellects sound, or does he wander a little in his conversation? You cannot be too careful to watch the first symptoms of incoherence. The first illogical snarl he makes, to St. Luke's with him! All the dogs here are going mad, if you believe the overseers; but I protest they seem to me very rational and collected. But nothing is so deceitful as mad people to those ...
— The Works of Charles and Mary Lamb (Vol. 6) - Letters 1821-1842 • Charles and Mary Lamb

... forgot everything else. She clung more tightly to her mother's hand, as one will cling to any wonted stay of love in the midst of strangeness, even of joy, and she saw everything with eyes which photographed it upon her very soul. At first she had an impression of a dazzling incoherence of splendor, of a blare as of thousands of musical instruments all sounding different notes of delight, of a weaving pattern of colors, too intricate to master, of a mingled odor of paint and varnish, and pine ...
— The Portion of Labor • Mary E. Wilkins Freeman

... Why, Browning's poem was contained in my tone-poem; blame Browning for the incoherence, for I but followed his verse. One day many months afterward I happened to pick up Hanslick, ...
— Old Fogy - His Musical Opinions and Grotesques • James Huneker

... striven hard to open English eyes to the emptiness of Shakespeare's philosophy, to the superficiality and second-handedness of his morality, to his weakness and incoherence as a thinker, to his snobbery, his vulgar prejudices, his ignorance, his disqualifications of all sorts for the philosophic eminence claimed for him.... The preface to my "Three Plays for Puritans" contains a section headed "Better than Shakespeare?" ...
— Tolstoy on Shakespeare - A Critical Essay on Shakespeare • Leo Tolstoy

... follow him. She was a bachelor of arts, but he had gone beyond her limitations. This she did not comprehend, attributing her incomprehension to his incoherence. ...
— Martin Eden • Jack London

... stream of phrase which has sometimes been imagined to require only to be written down to be read with the same delight with which it was heard; but he cannot print his tone, nor his air and manner, nor the contagion of his hardihood. All the while we were not sensible of the flutter of his ideas, the incoherence of his transitions, his vague notions, his doubtful assertions, and his meagre knowledge. A pen is the extinguisher of ...
— Literary Character of Men of Genius - Drawn from Their Own Feelings and Confessions • Isaac D'Israeli

... women of Burne-Jones are not those of this world; but they are themselves a world, consistent with itself, and having therefore its own reality. Charged with the beauty and with the strangeness of dreams, it has nothing of a dream's incoherence. Yet it is a dreamer always whose nature penetrates these works, a nature out of sympathy with struggle and strenuous action. Burne-Jones's men and women are dreamers too. It was this which, more than anything else, estranged him from the age into which he was born. But he had an ...
— Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 4, Part 4 - "Bulgaria" to "Calgary" • Various

... my thoughts were as aimless as my progress, but gradually out of the incoherence one idea crystallized. It was not an idea to be proud of. My bitterness of heart produced the natural result, that was all—a burning desire to be revenged upon somebody. I contemplated revenging myself upon everybody who had anything to do with my discomfiture, ...
— The Motor Pirate • George Sidney Paternoster

... connection of premises and conclusion, that cannot be detected by reducing the arguments to syllogistic form, must depend upon some juggling with language to disguise their incoherence. They may be generally described as Fallacies of Ambiguity, whether they turn upon the use of the same word in different senses, or upon ellipsis. Thus it may be argued that all works written in a classical language are classical, and that, ...
— Logic - Deductive and Inductive • Carveth Read

... every direction, similar to that exercised by fluids, have a certain bearing on the difficulties of the exhumation. Two more tubes are prepared, but this time supplied with fresh mould, lightly heaped up, which has not the incoherence of sand, with the attendant drawback of pressure. Six centimeters of mould give me eight flies for fifteen pupae buried; twenty centimeters give me only one. There is less success than with the sandy column. My device has diminished the pressure, but, ...
— The Life of the Fly - With Which are Interspersed Some Chapters of Autobiography • J. Henri Fabre

... exploded, his slender patience evidently worn to its last thread by his mother's incoherence, "what on earth ...
— Revelations of a Wife - The Story of a Honeymoon • Adele Garrison

... interest, and looked at him attentively. It was evident that though Captain Lebyadkin had left off drinking he was far from being in a harmonious state of mind. Drunkards of many years' standing, like Lebyadkin, often show traces of incoherence, of mental cloudiness, of something, as it were, damaged, and crazy, though they may deceive, cheat, and swindle, almost as well as ...
— The Possessed - or, The Devils • Fyodor Dostoyevsky

... Angel-Cynnan, his Regal and Ecclesiastical Antiquities, and his Essay on the Sports and Pastimes of the People of England had rendered him familiar with all the antiquarian lore necessary for the purpose of composing the projected romance; and although the manuscript bore the marks of hurry and incoherence natural to the first rough draught of the author, it evinced (in my opinion) ...
— Waverley, Or 'Tis Sixty Years Hence, Complete • Sir Walter Scott

... Cause. Duck to the whistle of a bullet and commune with Schopenhauer. Perhaps I am a little mad. Perhaps I am supremely intelligent. But in either case I am not understandable to myself. How, then, be understandable to others? If these sheets of paper, this incoherence, is ever read, the others will understand it about as much as the investigating hawk. But none the less be it of record that I, Karslake, SAW. It reads like Revelations: 'I, John, saw.' It is just that. There is something apocalyptic in it all. I have seen a vision, ...
— A Deal in Wheat - And Other Stories of the New and Old West • Frank Norris

... nothing whatever to eat but sugar. Love, love . . . the very word made her want to slap somebody. "Why should I love you? Why should I?" she would ask amazed sometimes when somebody was trying—somebody was always trying—to propose to her. But she never got a real answer, only further incoherence. ...
— The Enchanted April • Elizabeth von Arnim

... up and seated in his sitting-room as before. But he was worse, and talked with a certain incoherence when he told the Queen that he had been listening to the little birds, and they had reminded him of those he had heard at the Rosenau in his childhood. She felt a quick recoil, and when the doctors showed that their favourable ...
— Life of Her Most Gracious Majesty the Queen, (Victoria) Vol II • Sarah Tytler

... revival was marked by the achievement of each one of his books which he composed then, persuaded that, once written and construed, a sentimental or social experience was not worth the trouble of being dwelt upon. Thus is explained the incoherence of custom and the atmospheric contact, if one may so express it, which are the characteristics of his work. Take, for example, his first collection of novels, the 'Etudes de Femmes,' which made him famous. They are about a sentimental woman who loved unwisely, and who spent hours ...
— Serge Panine • Georges Ohnet

... his mind; there was, between his forehead and eyes and those of Helene, one of those vague and distant likenesses which seem almost like the incoherence of a dream. Gaston, without knowing why, associated these two faces in his memory, and could not separate them. As he was about to lie down, worn out with fatigue, a horse's feet sounded in the street, the hotel door opened, and Gaston heard an animated conversation; but soon the ...
— The Regent's Daughter • Alexandre Dumas (Pere)

... is for earth, not heaven"—was a sign that, for one school of thought at least, reason and the democratic principle were not to be browbeaten, and that the era of miracles in Judaism was over. The very incoherence of the Talmud, its confusion of voices, is an index of free thinking. Post-biblical Israel has had a veritable galaxy of thinkers and saints, from Maimonides its Aquinas to Crescas its Duns Scotus, from Mendelssohn its Erasmus to the Baal-Shem its ...
— Chosen Peoples • Israel Zangwill

... important incident through the eyes of each of the characters in turn. Furthermore, it is comparatively easy to characterize in the first person when the thing that is written is so intimate and personal as a letter. But the disadvantage of the device lies in the fact that it tends toward incoherence in the structure of the narrative. It is hard for the author to stick to the point at every moment without violating the casual and discursive tone that the ...
— A Manual of the Art of Fiction • Clayton Hamilton

... and the wildest prayers for forgiveness, Rudd simply growled forth an oath and impatiently flung himself over in the berth with his back to the petitioner. This had the intended effect of causing Walford's apologies and prayers to be reiterated with increased eagerness and incoherence, to the hearty amusement of the ...
— The Voyage of the Aurora • Harry Collingwood

... outward spectacle of the blood-stained Frankish world as it was, say, in the days of Gregory the Great, on its savage kings, its fiendish women, its bishops and its saints; and then, on the conflict of ideas going on behind all the fierce incoherence of the Empire's decay, the struggle of Roman order and of German freedom, of Roman luxury and of German hardness; above all, the war of orthodoxy and heresy, with its strange political complications. And then, ...
— Robert Elsmere • Mrs. Humphry Ward

... known by its fruits,—and the fruits of chance are incoherence, incompleteness, unsteadiness, the stammering utterance of blind, unreasoning force. A coherence that binds all the geological ages in one chain, a stability of purpose that completes in the beings born to-day an intention expressed in the ...
— Young Folks' Library, Volume XI (of 20) - Wonders of Earth, Sea and Sky • Various

... though maritime causes then, as now, usually involved much hard swearing, the case was notable for the prodigious amount of perjury which it elicited. For the most part the witnesses were sailors, who, besides swearing with stolid indifference to truth, caused much amusement by the incoherence of their statements and by their free use of nautical expressions, which were quite unintelligible to Chief Justice (Sir Robert) Hyde. "It was," says Pepys, "pleasant to see what mad sort of testimonys the seamen did give, and ...
— A Book About Lawyers • John Cordy Jeaffreson

... much incoherence and with everybody giving orders and each acting independently, they bore him tenderly into the shade of a rock and worked over him feverishly, their faces paler than his. When he opened his eyes and stared ...
— The Happy Family • Bertha Muzzy Bower

... themselves, kings lovable and beloved, kings sombre and dreaded or detested. As we go forward and encounter them on our way, all these kingly characters will be seen appearing and acting in all their diversity and all their incoherence. Absolute monarchical power in France was, almost in every successive reign, singularly modified, being at one time aggravated and at another alleviated according to the ideas, sentiments, morals, and spontaneous instincts of the monarchs. Nowhere else, throughout the ...
— A Popular History of France From The Earliest Times - Volume II. of VI. • Francois Pierre Guillaume Guizot

... understood—perhaps you will some day understand, and then you will know what seems wild in my speech is but the incoherence of a poor creature who has been beaten to the ground by the whirlwind, and only saved from ...
— Phyllis of Philistia • Frank Frankfort Moore

... like throwing a match into the powder magazine. It blows up the whole arena. This is exactly what scientific philosophers do when they are driven into a corner and convicted of incoherence. They at once drag in the mind and talk of entities in the mind or out of the mind as the case may be. For natural philosophy everything perceived is in nature. We may not pick and choose. For us ...
— The Concept of Nature - The Tarner Lectures Delivered in Trinity College, November 1919 • Alfred North Whitehead

... of control for them and collective determination. This panoply of war waits as the test of our progress towards the realization of that collective mind which I hold must ultimately direct the evolution of our specific being. It is here to measure our incoherence and error, and in the measure of those defects to refer us back to ...
— First and Last Things • H. G. Wells

... of the empire into a large national State is interrupted by resistance under the watchword of separate nationalities. Religious differences between Roman Catholicism, Calvinism, and the Greek Church in the Eastern provinces, accentuate the incoherence. Each separate group takes for its symbol, the standard round which people rally, a language—German, Polish, Tcheque, Ruthenian, and so on. They are all being energetically maintained and jealously preserved in ...
— Studies in Literature and History • Sir Alfred Comyn Lyall

... and he looked at her with astonishment, asking himself whether he could believe what she was saying, when he could recollect what seemed to him so many proofs to the contrary. Yet in what she said there was no hesitation, no incoherence, no false note. Pride, noble pride, upheld her to the end. The first falsehood of ...
— Jacqueline, v3 • Th. Bentzon (Mme. Blanc)

... apologetic in the manner, if not in the language, of the speaker; and his words seemed to indicate, if possible, an excuse for the incoherence of his address, in the physical fatigue which he had undergone—in this way to divert suspicion from those mental causes of excitement, of which, in the present situation, he felt somewhat ashamed. Pouring out a glass of liquor, and quaffing it without pause, he motioned ...
— Guy Rivers: A Tale of Georgia • William Gilmore Simms

... forget Father Beron with his monotonous phrase, "Will you confess now?" reaching him in an awful iteration and lucidity of meaning through the delirious incoherence of unbearable pain. He could not forget. But that was not the worst. Had he met Father Beron in the street after all these years Dr. Monygham was sure he would have quailed before him. This contingency was not to be feared now. ...
— Nostromo: A Tale of the Seaboard • Joseph Conrad

... chain which hung over her flat chest, and went on: "I—you have always seemed to me the very nicest of Jerry's friends—and I shall never forget your mother's kindness. I hope—I hope so much I shall see more of her. The Colonel thinks so too—we've liked so much having him like you." The incoherence of this did not prevent Sylvia's having a chillingly accurate grasp on its meaning. "It is the Colonel's hope," she went on painfully, "to have Jerry marry as soon as he graduates from the Law School. The Colonel thinks that nothing is so good for a young man as an early marriage—though ...
— The Bent Twig • Dorothy Canfield

... had taken place that morning at the Quenu-Gradelles'. Soon after daybreak, Auguste, breathless with excitement, had awakened his mistress to tell her that the police had come to arrest Monsieur Florent. And he added, with stammering incoherence, that the latter had gone out, and that he must have done so with the intention of escaping. Lisa, careless of appearances, at once hurried up to her brother-in-law's room in her dressing-wrapper, and took possession of La Normande's photograph, after glancing round to see if there was anything ...
— The Fat and the Thin • Emile Zola

... becoming sufficiently stirred by his fervor to lapse into sober incoherence. "Invade them before they invade us. Aircraft out ... gentlemen's agreement ... quite understand ... well ... landingbarges ... Bering Sea ... strike south ... shuttle transports ... drive left wing TransSiberian ... holding operation by right and ...
— Greener Than You Think • Ward Moore

... found him already bored with work and solitude; and the fine autumn weather of 1764 set him longing for a few days' pleasure-making at what was even then the fashionable Yorkshire watering-place. "I do not think," he writes, with characteristic incoherence, to Hall Stevenson—"I do not think a week or ten days' playing the good fellow (at this very time) so abominable a thing; but if a man could get there cleverly, and every soul in his house in the mind to ...
— Sterne • H.D. Traill

... Mountain Landscape, at South Kensington, The Destruction of Herculaneum, at Manchester, another at Newcastle whose subject escapes us, and we confess that we prefer the mezzotints of Martin, particularly those engraved by Le Keux—whose fine line and keen sense of balance corrected the incoherence of Martin's too blackened shadows and harsh explosions of whites. One looks in vain for the velvety tone of Earlom, or the vivid freshness of Valentine Green, in Martin. He was not a colourist; his mastery consisted in transferring to his huge cartoons ...
— Promenades of an Impressionist • James Huneker

... the mere clumsy copy had made him dream and desire. He had been tossed by it to a height so vertiginous as to involve a retreat from the table; but the next day he had dropped with a resounding thud at the very feet of his apparition. On the following, with an equal incoherence, a sacrifice even of his bewildered sisters, whom he left behind, he made an heroic effort to escape by flight from a fate of which he already felt the cold breath. That fate, in London, very little later, drove him straight before it—drove him one Sunday afternoon, in the rain, to ...
— Embarrassments • Henry James



Words linked to "Incoherence" :   disconnectedness, coherence, incoherency, disjointedness, meaninglessness, unintelligibility, nonsense, bunk, word salad, disjunction, disconnection, incoherent, disjuncture, nonsensicality, hokum



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